The Price of Individualism

The world is witnessing more and more individualistic societies.

It is happening on every level – family, local, professional and personal. Slowly, but surely there are less “family reunions”, interactions with your neighbors, activities in your local area…

In the old days, whatever you do, there was this strong “family bond” behind you. I am not saying it no longer exists, but what you could do depended largely on what family you are from. You were limited, in a way, but at the same time, it was a guarantee. However, as the society has become more meritocratic, this notion reversed; you are no longer limited in terms of what you can achieve, as well as you no longer have the guarantee if you fail. You are all responsible of your life.

This phenomena has brought interesting consequences; those who enjoy their social successes thanks to meritocracy, and those who suffer from “your failure is your own fault” attitude of meritocratic society. It’s harsh, it’s the natural selection of capitalism.

And the result? – 2 extremes; those whose belief lies in tangible, human world (money, education, career in profession, social status, etc.) and those whose belief lies in intangible, “the sacred” as Emilie Durkheim would call, world (religion).

“Winners” of capitalism are likely to be the former, as they have found their place in the meritocratic world, and “losers” of capitalism are likely to fall in the latter; they try to find their place and comfort in religion.

Since capitalism only provides material values and satisfaction, each individual has to find on their own. For “winners” it’s easy, the society in which they live has already provided them; social success. For “losers” it’s not so obvious, the society confronts them with bitter reality. They look for another place that offers pleasant, promising reality. It’s all up to each individual to choose. As I mentioned, you are all responsible of your life.

Individualism and capitalism, are they friends, or are they enemies?

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(Here I use “losers” to simply make a contrast with those benefit from capitalism, not for the literal meaning of the word itself.)

 

 

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